Where did the time go? I can’t believe it is December 6th, with one last exam to go and fall semester 2106 is finished. I truly enjoyed my study abroad program here in Tianjin, and I learned a great deal. The courses that I took were interesting and the professors are both passionate about what they teach as well as making sure their students gain and retain as much information as possible. There is something to be said about living in a different country, learning it’s culture, and simply being comfortable in its environment.
As I mentioned previously in one of my earlier blogs, classroom participation here in China is much different from that of the US. Students participate in many group projects, including oral presentations. At first, the idea having to schedule group meetings and choosing specific sections of a topic to write about did not appeal to me. However, once I got past the first group project and learned how to work and study along side of my teammates, I found myself enjoying them. One group project, I enjoyed most was from my Introduction to Hospitality course. I was teamed with three other students, and we were given the task of writing a paper about current issues affecting the hospitality industry. We had to choose and make a site visit to a local hotel. We chose The St. Regis Tianjin Hotel and were able to meet with both the General Manager of the hotel and the Director of Human Resources. What an experience! I learned a great deal and was able to make some great contacts from the hotel for future opportunities. In addition, I was able to build some great friendships with individuals of whom I hope to remain in close contact after I return home to the US.
This study abroad experience in Tianjin, China, humbled me in many respects. The culture, the language, the cuisine, and above all, the kindness of the people with whom I came across, humbled me. This included the Chinese students who were in the FIU hospitality program and from the ones who were regular TUC students, to all of my professors and even the maintenance employees at the FIU building. All were amazing, and were beyond hospitable towards me, and I sincerely thank them all. Having said that, I can only encourage more FIU hospitality major students to take advantage of such a great opportunity to study abroad and experience first hand all that the FIU Marriott Tianjin program, the city of Tianjin and its people has to offer.
Lastly, I would like to end by saying I am certain that FIU Marriott Study Abroad program has prepared me for a brighter future within the hospitality industry. It has given me an insight as to how the industry works internationally and what I can expect moving forward as I enter into my career. The things that I will miss most about China is its people. They showed me the true meaning of hospitality and how to enjoy a culture, language, and environment that is much different than my own, and for that, I am grateful. I was also able to take many trips outside of Tianjin and one of my favorite was a visit to Thailand. I was able to visit yet another great country and was able to enjoy its warm weather, Thai food, and swim in crystal clear waters. China has so much to offer and each province is different. Therefore, all of your experiences will be different. For the above reasons, I highly recommend the FIU Marriott Tianjin program and all that it has to offer. I promise you, your overall experience will be grand.